「万里を駆ける料理人」 (Manri wo Kakeru Ryourinin)
“The Chef Who Crossed a Thousand Leagues”
It’s all about the food and cooking this week on Shokugeki no Souma. I love when they explain their dishes and the complexity behind the flavors and how they came up with it. It really reminds me of The Food Network programs that encourage chefs to use good descriptive words to entice the audience to try something. Whether it’s home-cooking or restaurants, I love seeing what the chefs are making and serving. This week was risotto and ramen, both of which I love and both which come from different cultural roots. However, I wouldn’t consider either a “breakfast dish”, especially when I stayed up all night or just woke up (I rarely eat breakfast in general though). Risotto is just another dish like pasta which I would consider both heavy and filling (especially at an Italian restaurant). I’ve never had risotto with fruit before so the apple pairing was interesting to see; but I have seen bacon usually paired with something sweet (like maple bacon!) and that seemed appetizing to me. Unfortunately, I just can’t imagine having risotto early in the morning because I might just fall into a food coma afterwards. Ramen on the other hand, is usually a lighter dish compared to risotto but still hearty. I can imagine serving ramen for breakfast because growing up, I usually have congee/porridge early in the morning. Ramen is not that far behind if you make it with vegetables or a light broth. Low and behold, that’s exactly what Jouichirou did! I’m impressed with his influences from around the globe to create this ramen bowl; you can see how advanced he is with his cooking techniques. Compared to risotto, made with cream and dairy, ramen made with vegetable broth in the morning sounds much more appetizing to me.
Growing up with a vegan sister, I got into the habit of reinventing food to look and taste like something else, even when there’s no meat in it. You start to get creative with foods like nuts and lentils and your flavor palettes change because vegetables only taste so great on their own. Nowadays my sister loves things deep-fried, or spicy or things with texture because you can feel and taste the difference rather than straight up boiling food. I loved Jouichirou’s take on his ramen and how he transformed all his ingredients to resemble meat and taste flavorful, without actually simmering it in a meat broth. Mixing in taro root to make a milky broth? That’s ingenious! It reminds me of how I will use nutrition yeast and cashews to resemble cheese. It shows his experience and abilities in the kitchen compared to Souma who has a lot to learn. Not that Souma hasn’t done well on his own, but no doubt about it, Jouichirou did not go easy on him. Lastly I want to mention Jouichirou’s use of tempeh! Definitely not an everyday ingredient that you would see unless you live in a diverse neighborhood and I’m glad it got the spotlight. I’m not going to regurgitate what Jouichirou said, but for vegans out there and those that like soybean and similar alternatives, it’s a great substitute in dishes. I’ve seen it used in different applications too so soup and noodles is not just the only method of pairing it.
The episode focused mainly on Souma’s challenge against his dad, but there were some small snippets or other scenes here and there. There are some small scenes with Erina which one again, show her connection to Jouichirou. Not sure how he’s influenced her to be where she is today, but hopefully we’ll get to that before the end of the season (or maybe it’ll just be left hanging until you read the manga). It also hints that next week we’ll revisit Souma’s hometown and his restaurant. It looks like without the Yukihira restaurant open, the town’s been rather lackluster… And then there’s this girl again whom I thought would play a bigger role earlier on but hasn’t turned up again until now. I wonder how Souma will react going back home and how much he’s changed since attending the academy.